We encounter many instances in life where good people appear from nowhere just to help us and disappear so fast that we do not even get a chance to say “thank you.” When I think of such incidents, I always remember one where I missed an opportunity to express my gratitude to someone.
The story goes back to some 15 years. The plane from Biratnagar to Kathmandu was delayed by 5-6 hours. I and my two year old son were supposed to land in the afternoon, but it was night when we finally got out of the Kathmandu airport.
It was the time of Maoist insurgency in the country, so airport security was tight. Because of that, people who went to receive their relatives were not allowed to go up to the arrival area. They had to wait at the entrance gate of the airport down the road.
Although we could get a taxi from the airport, we did not because my husband was waiting for us at the entrance gate. Consequently, holding my child’s hand and carrying our baggage, I started walking in the dark. Surprisingly, I saw no passengers like me walking on the road. I thought, ‘Never mind. It is the airport area, so it must be safe,’ and kept walking.
Then, out of the blue I heard a soft voice, “Ma’am, are you alone?” I looked back and saw a shadow of a gentleman. I replied, “Yes. In fact, my husband is waiting for us down the road.” In a serious tone he again intervened, “Look ma’am, this area is not safe. I’m worried about you and I can’t allow you to walk alone. Let me think about how I can help you.”
Hearing him I got scared. Silly me, I did not realise a lingering danger at all. My inner voice commanded me to trust that stranger and wait for his move towards our safety. Soon, a vehicle belonging to Budda Air appeared at our sight. The man stopped it and asked the driver to drop us off at the gate.
Even though I was extremely grateful to that kind stranger, I forgot to thank him as I was filled with an unknown fear. Analysing his responsible behaviour I assume he must have been some high-ranking police officer at the airport, but I will never know for the sure.
Every time I remember this incident, my heart is filled with gratitude and joy. At the same time I regret missing the opportunity to express my gratitude.
It is said that gratitude expressed in words is superficial gratitude, but I strongly believe that sometimes words can also bring about miracles. Therefore, if you are grateful to someone who has done you a favour, no matter how big or small, and you forgot to say “thank you” at that very moment, you can still do so now. It is never too late for such things. Expressing gratitude is a gift from God to human beings; so why be stingy when it comes to using it?
(Published in an English Daily The Rising Nepal on Friday, March 24, 2017)
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